NYLAG Gala Honors Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and ING U.S. Chief Legal Officer Bridget Healy

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Gala honorees Bridget Healy and Hon. Jonathan Lippman with NYLAG's Chairman of the Board Abby Milstein.

Gala honorees Bridget Healy and Hon. Jonathan Lippman with NYLAG’s Chairman of the Board Abby Milstein.

The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) held its third annual Gala on May 22, 2013, at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. The event honored New York State’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, and Bridget M. Healy, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of ING U.S. Nearly 500 people attended the benefit, which raised over $1 million to support NYLAG’s mission of providing high-quality, free civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford attorneys.

This year’s Gala focused on “Rebuilding After Superstorm Sandy,” highlighting NYLAG’s latest innovation, its Storm Response Unit, which is today the leading legal services provider helping affected New Yorkers navigate a complex web of government benefits and insurance claims in order to fully rebuild their lives.Attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception and silent auction, with music provided by artists from The Julliard School. Guests then moved to the Grand Ballroom for the dinner program hosted by award-winning journalist Jane Hanson, which included the premiere of a new video about NYLAG’s storm response work. Watch the video here.

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York receives 2013 Visionary of Justice Award

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York receives 2013 Visionary of Justice Award

In accepting the 2013 Visionary of Justice Award, Chief Judge Lippman emphasized his view that civil legal services are as vital as housing, education and healthcare in making people secure – at a time when barely 20% of New Yorkers’ needs for legal services are being met. The Chief Judge commended NYLAG Board Chair Abby Milstein, President Yisroel Schulman, and the entire agency, stating, “Superstorm Sandy was a perfect example of what you do. When people are in trouble, so much of it is a need for free legal services. NYLAG and all civil legal service providers are critical to closing the access to justice gap. This is a special organization – a model for this state and this country.” Watch the full speech here.

As the recipient of the 2013 Corporate Leadership Award, Bridget Healy was recognized for her outstanding legal career and her commitment to philanthropy.  In addition to oversight of the Law, Compliance and Government Affairs functions, she oversees ING U.S.’s Corporate Responsibility Department  fostering a culture of giving back, while personally taking the time to serve as a valued mentor and advisor to many individuals inside and outside the company. Ms. Healy praised NYLAG for its rapid response to Superstorm Sandy and remembered how her own colleagues rallied in support of those affected by the disaster.

Bridget Healy receives 2013 Corporate Leadership Award

Bridget Healy receives 2013 Corporate Leadership Award

“To be recognized by the New York Legal Assistance Group – which epitomizes all the good that our profession can do for society – brings me back to why I first wanted to be a lawyer. As a kid growing up outside of the US, the ideals of equality and fairness were to me quintessentially American. Only after living here for a while did I come to understand the critical role the American legal system played in empowering people to assert and defend their rights to fair treatment,” said Ms. Healy. “NYLAG was there with its storm response program, providing a legal lifeline to people who weren’t sure where to turn. I am proud to say that ING U.S. was there, too, to pitch in and help. Organizations like NYLAG provide a strong foundation for service, for making that personal connection and giving back to our communities.” Watch the full speech here.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman (second from right) receiving the 2013 Visionary of Justice Award with Yisroel Schulman, Abby Milstein, and Elka Abramowitz.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman (second from right) receiving the 2013 Visionary of Justice Award with Yisroel Schulman, Abby Milstein, and Elkan Abramowitz.

The evening’s Co-Chairs were Alain Karaoglan, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of ING U.S., and Joseph Polizzotto, NYLAG Board member and General Counsel of Deutsche Bank – Americas. More than fifty law firms participated as event sponsors.

For more photos of the event, visit NYLAG’s Facebook page.

Photos by Jayd Jackson.